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FINANCIAL WOES THREATEN AMBULANCE SERVICE 

FOR YEARS, FOLKS IN DIXMONT AND SURROUNDING TOWNS HAVE RELIED ON COMMUNITY AMBULANCE SERVICE IN EMERGENCIES.

BUT THE COUPLE WHO RUNS THE BUSINESS SAYS THEY MAY HAVE TO ABANDON IT BECAUSE OF TOUGH FINANCIAL TIMES.

&quot:the Lord’s working miracles in the back of my ambulance.&quot:

GINNY COLE BELIEVES SO STRONGLY IN COMMUNITY AMBULANCE SERVICE THAT SHE’S MORTGAGING HER HOUSE FOR THE FOURTH TIME TO KEEP IT AFLOAT…

SHE AND HER HUSBAND HARRISON STARTED THE SERVICE BACK IN 1992…AFTER REALIZING THAT DIXMONT DIDN’T HAVE A LOCAL AMBULANCE TO RESPOND IN EMERGENCIES…THE COLES HAVE CHANGED THAT…NOT ONLY FOR DIXMONT…BUT ETNA, PLYMOUTH AND NEWBURGH AS WELL.

&quot:when my ambulance shows up with my husband and I on it, you have an emergency room showing up at your door, because we’re paramedic level.&quot:

THE COLES HAVE DONE EVERYTHING FROM DELIVER PREMATURE BABIES TO REVIVE PATIENTS WHO’VE FLATLINED AFTER HEART ATTACKS…

BUT SOON, THEY MAY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PARK THEIR AMBULANCES FOR GOOD…FINANCIAL TIMES HAVE JUST GOTTEN TOO TOUGH.

&quot:a lot of the insurance companies, the state, the federal government aren’t paying their bills. 54 percent of my runs are paid by medicaid. This is a depressed area financially.&quot:

&quot:it costs me $3,000 a month just to keep this ambulance with it’s payment. $900 a month just in insurance. Fuel bills are costing me almost $2,000 a month. They used to cost 7 or $800 a month.&quot:

&quot:we must have this service.&quot:

IRENE SMITH IS A DIXMONT RESIDENT WHO’S HAD TO USE COMMUNITY AMBULANCE…SHE WORRIES ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THEY’RE NOT THERE.

&quot:there are so many people that need them within moments…and we can’t get that from any other ambulance in the area.&quot:

STILL, AS TOUGH AS THINGS ARE, THE COLES ARE TRYING TO STAY POSITIVE…

&quot:you look on the bright side of it. The rewards outnumber the bad things. Babies born, people we save, the thanks we get. It’s well worth it.&quot:

THE COLES SAY IF THEY GO OUT OF BUSINESS, RESIDENTS IN DIXMONT AND THE OTHER TOWNS THEY SERVE WOULD LIKELY HAVE TO RELY ON AMBULANCES FROM HAMPDEN AND THE NEWPORT AREA.